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Making Your Website Accessible

Man accessing website through voice command

Why should I make my website accessible?

New reports show that approximately 20% of U.S. adults have a disability of some form. These can be temporary, permanent or age-related. Expand your potential pool of customers or clients by making your website accessible.

There are also increasing state and federal legal mandates for website accessibility, in part driven by lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Below are links to several law suits of note:

How do I make my website accessible?

Think about the areas of your website that people need to interact with. How would a person who is visually impaired "view" your site? Look at your H1 tag designations which tell you the order of importance of the headlines on the screen. You might want to make your site accessible for:

  • people with visual impairments who use screen readers
  • people with mobility issues, who cannot use a mouse, and sometimes use devices to navigate by keyboard
  • people with colorblindness who might not be able to find “the green button”, or be able to tell when they are hovering over a button if the color contrast is low

There are many small things that you might be able to do to start making your site more accessible, like adding “alt text” for all images and graphical info. Alt text is what screen readers read out loud. Each image on your website has a place to add "alt text", just type in a description of what the picture shows and it will be accessible to a screen reader.

Website Accessibility Doesn't Just Refer to Blind People

We Consider Four Categories of Accessibility

Accessibility for the Visually Impaired

"Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses.[1][2] Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses.[1] Visual impairment is often defined as a best corrected visual acuity of worse than either 20/40 or 20/60.[5] The term blindness is used for complete or nearly complete vision loss.[5] Visual impairment may cause people difficulties with normal daily activities such as driving, reading, socializing, and walking*.[2]"
The above information was gathered from Wikipedia.

Visually Impaired or Blind can refer to non-sighted users, users with low-vision, users with obstructed vision, or even simply your aging parents. Being visually impaired covers a lot of different scenarios. It's important that our websites are accessible to as many people as possible.

Accessibility for the Hearing Impaired

Even though most websites are visual, they also may contain auditory components which need fallbacks for hearing impaired visitors.